Before the March 5 premiere at Lincoln Square and the Monkey Bar afterparty, Fey reflected on her post-“30 Rock” career since she’s already set for the new Muppets movie and then “This Is Where I Leave You” with Jason Bateman.
“It’s nice to be able to do some films now, because for years with ’30 Rock’ it was only a tiny window or ‘I can’t do one right now,’” said the actress. “It’s also fun to be able to shoot here in New York, be in my own bed every night and see my kids on weekends.”
Director and producer Paul Weitz easily steered Fey through the most dramatic role of her career.
“It’s a comedy drama,” he emphasized. “I felt it was a step for her and not a leap across a chasm. She’s very believable as a woman who has fooled herself into believing she’s got her life all set, because if you’re very smart then you’re able to trick yourself sufficiently.”
In the Focus pic, Fey plays a Princeton admissions officer who, alongside Gloria Reuben and Wallace Shawn, decides the fate of literally thousands of applicants. Shawn found the film to be “incredibly friendly to the admissions officers at Princeton. It shows very conscientious people — I don’t know if there’s any truth in that — but in the movie they’re amazingly conscientious about their work.”
As for his own college-admission interview, “I had to sort of forget the reality to do the movie. My feelings about my college days are so angry and full of bitterness I couldn’t have played the part if I’d thought about that,” said Shawn, who went to Harvard.